Positive and Negative Characteristics in Exceptional Students

By Victoria Trix

Gifted children can present a unique challenge for teachers and they often possess certain characteristics that set them apart from their classmates. These can be positive and negative. The first hurdle is to identify them.

Exceptional students have an array of characteristics that are quite common for the gifted child. As a teacher being able to spot these characteristics is an important step in order to be able to work with your gifted students effectively. Here we will take a look at both some of the positive and negative characteristics of gifted students. While many of the positive characteristics are traits that make teaching a pure joy, the negative characteristics can be quite frustrating.

Teaching and Learning Skills

Gifted students have many great characteristics that making teaching them exciting. Some of these include the ability to learn and retain information quickly -- they are interested in learning new things and usually have a lot of questions to ask. They also will often have a desire to learn reading and math at a faster rate than the average student. You will also find that they complete their work quickly and are interested in doing more work. While these are great characteristics, there are some negatives that go along with them that can make teaching difficult.

Some of the negative characteristics of a gifted student and their learning skills are the fact that they are easily taken off track or off topic -- they can easily become bored in class which can cause them to be disruptive to other students and they may also refuse to complete projects that vary from the subjects they enjoy. In order to avoid having these negative characteristics come out in class it is wise to always have something extra for your gifted student to do such as crosswords, reading a book or assisting you with things such as putting packets together. Keep them busy to avoid their boredom and you will find that your teaching will go much more smoothly.

Personality Traits

You will find when teaching gifted students, that not only do they have common learning skills, but they also have common personality traits as well. Some of the positive personality traits you will find when teaching gifted students include the fact that they have a strong conviction on justice and they often times enjoy debating an issue. While this may work in their favor at times, teaching them can be a struggle because of this. Because of their strong conviction of justice you will also see that they are quite judgemental of themselves and others around them. This can cause not only self doubt, but also issues with other students.

Sense of Humor

When teaching gifted students you will find that they have an amazing sense of humor that can also be quite sophisticated and well beyond their years. Gifted children often times understand subtle humor and enjoy satire along with plays on various words. This can make a gifted child fun to be around, but can also cause issues. The gifted student may get carried away with a joke because they have a hard time learning when to stop or when enough is enough. This can cause issues between them and other students. Ideally trying to teach your gifted student how to know they are taking things too far can be beneficial to them and your class.

Teaching gifted students can be a joy because they are often some of the most caring students you will ever have. They are very sensitive to the feelings of those around them and usually have a very giving nature. They can express themselves very well which makes them an asset to other students who may have a hard time expressing themselves. However, some students may see a gifted child as a know-it-all or someone who is hard to approach because they are so well spoken and vocal. Other students may also see your gifted student as a bossy person because they are so vocal. By teaching your gifted students how to listen to the thoughts of others, they will find that making and keeping friends in the classroom is much easier.